Market Closes Flat despite Positive Sectoral Performance

The equities market closed positive, albeit marginally, as the All Share Index (ASI) rose 2bps to settle at 36,608.76 points while YTD gain closed flat to 36.2%. Accordingly, market capitalization increased by N7.3bn to N12.8tn. Today’s market performance can be primarily accredited to buying interest in NESTLE (+3.1%), ZENITH (+1.3%) and UNILEVER (+5.7%) which was offset by losses in NB (-3.0%), ETI (-2.9%), FOURMILL (-4.9%) and STANBIC (-0.9%). On a similar note, activity level improved as volume and value traded advanced 28.4% and 68.9% to 331.2m units and N5.6bn respectively. Also, there was an off-market transaction of 69.4m units of Union Bank at N6.80/share with a total value of N471.7m in three separate cross deals today.

Sector Performance Positive as Consumer Goods index Leads Gainers
Sector performance was broadly positive as 3 of the 5 major indices closed positive while 2 closed flat. The Consumer Goods index gained the most, rising 0.3% on the back of price appreciations in NESTLE (+3.1%), UNILEVER (+5.7%) and DANGSUGAR (+0.8%). In the same vein, the Banking index inched 0.2% higher due to renewed buying interest in ZENITH (+1.3%), UBA (+1.0%), and GUARANTY (+0.1%). Similarly, gains in WAPIC (+4.0), LINKASSURE (+5.0%) and NEIMETH (+3.4%) drove the Insurance index, up 0.2%. The Oil & Gas and Insurance indices closed the day flat.

Investor Sentiment Further Weakens
Investor sentiment (advancers/decliners’) weakened further to 0.8x from 0.9x recorded the previous day consequent on 17 stocks advancing against 22 stocks declining. Today’s top performers were UNILEVER (+5.7%), LINKASSURE (+4.9%) and WAPIC (+4.0%) while GLAXOSMITH (-9.7%), FLOURMILL (-5.0%) and LIVESTOCK (-4.5%) led laggards. Although market performance was positive, investor sentiment has softened for the third consecutive day due to an absence of fundamental sentiment drivers. Notwithstanding, we expect market performance to stay positive in the near term as investors position ahead of anticipated year-end rally.